Finally, Food Cart Season: What Will the Year Bring?
The weather turned warm this week, and I turned to the streets to see what food was available. The short answer: nothing you don't know about already. Some of the better food carts/trucks haven't even opened for the season yet.
Yesterday, I spoke with the city, which has been struggling for years to reverse our antiquated rules and regulations, the very ones that have relegated D.C. to a Third World status of street food, all chips, sodas, and dirty-water dogs. The short answer: The city still can't get consensus from all the parties involved on new regulations, which means we're stuck with the old ones for the time being.
But new regs could be forthcoming this spring. Or they could not. The powerful depot owners still apparently have the ability to strike fear in the old-time dirty-dog operators, who worry that new carts will drive them out of business.
In the meantime, here's what I found on the District streets. What's your current favorite?
The toffle available at the Sâuçá truck: Billed as a kind of Belgian waffle, this sweet treat is far more dense than the former. It can be topped with all manner of syrups, fruits, and sugars.
Sâuçá's "banh mi" is more of a Middle Eastern-style sandwich, with thickly sauced pork and pickled vegetables, not deli meat, pate, and veggies on a crunchy French baguette.
Sâuçá's Mumbai butter chicken also comes wrapped in grilled flatbread. It is stuffed with diced breast meat, basmati rice, toasted cashews, and cilantro. The curry gravy comes from a squeeze bottle.
The ubiquitous dirty-water dog, this one a Polish sausage served on a bun stale enough to double as a blunt instrument.
The mouth-watering bibimbap from L Street Vending, at 14th and L streets, complete with sauteed spinach, carrot strips, bean sprouts, homemade kimchi, a fried egg, white rice, and spicy pan-sauteed bulgogi.
The black-and-tan burrito from Pedro & Vinny's, at 15th and K street. This gummy log is loaded down with rice, refried and black beans, guac, cheese, sour cream, and John Rider's fruity blast of habanero, known as Goose sauce.